Commentary

Summer Skate: San Jose Sharks

Brad Stuart may slip in his return to San Jose

Updated: August 15, 2012, 2:32 PM ET
By Robert Vollman and Craig Custance | Hockey Prospectus/ESPN Insider
Brad Stuart Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesThe Sharks added Brad Stuart, but will the D-man match his production in Detroit?

Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the San Jose Sharks. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.

Summer Skate -- San Jose Sharks

Though the team has missed the postseason only once since Tomas Hertl, their first-round draft pick this year, was 4 years old, 2011-12 was still a disappointing season for the Sharks. San Jose had enjoyed two consecutive appearances in the final four, five straight 100-point seasons, the last four of which were first-place Pacific Division finishes -- all snapped with a second-place, 96-point finish and first-round exit.

Unlike the additions of Martin Havlat and Brent Burns last season, there were no major offseason changes this year, just the swapping in and out of mostly cosmetic secondary contributors.

The Sharks are nevertheless a strong playoff-bound team, with three 30-goal scorers last season (Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski), and they are arguably the favorite to regain the Pacific Division title, though with Los Angeles as their chief rival this time instead of Phoenix.

Trending up: RW/LW Ryane Clowe
Last season: 8.0 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 7.7 GVT

Yes, you read that correctly. The projection is less than Clowe's 2011-12 production. But the choice to call out Clowe isn't so much about what VUKOTA sees, as what it doesn't see.


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